Photo Credit Flickr by Dave_B_
On Sunday, March 7th at 8PM EST on ABC, Hollywood rolls out the red carpet, presenting all its stars in their finest. While Hollywood is preparing for their 82nd Annual Awards Event, plan a viewing party for friends and/or family. Who doesn’t like to tune in to see what the stars are wearing, whom they’re with and who wins? It’s even more fun when you have company!
While Hollywood pulls out all the stops at the awards show and afterwards at the Governor’s Ball, we’ve got great tips for celebrating in caviar style on a burger budget. The entertainment is free, so simply supply a comfortable viewing area and some “goodies” (cocktail, food and swag bag), and, then, sit back, relax and watch the show.
VIEWING PARTY BASICS
- Include in invitation a request for guests to join in the festivities by dressing according to theme. For the Academy Awards, invite guests to “Bling It Up” by wearing some bling (jewelry, shoes, belt, shirt, handbag, etc.)
- Make sure your television is in good working order. If you have a DVR, program it to tape the pre-show red carpet events and awards show. Now you and your guests can watch at your leisure throughout the evening.
- Focus on your “viewing area”. Create a comfortable viewing area, all with a good view of the televised event. Bring in extra chairs, stools, ottomans, beanbag chairs, and oversized pillows to intermingle with existing seating. One of the greatest treats growing up, was eating in front of the television, indulge your guests. Make sure there are surfaces and coasters for guests to set glasses and plates while viewing. Place cozy blankets on back of sofas and chairs for guests to snuggle as the evening goes on.
- Prepare and display beverages and food ahead of guests’ arrival.
- Welcome guests with a signature festive cocktail, followed by buffet style “easy to eat” fare. Tell guests to make themselves comfortable and help themselves to additional beverages and food throughout the evening. (One up the stars – they have to wait until after the awards show to party at the Governor’s Ball, you can do it all night comfortably). Gift guests swag bag early on in evening so they can enjoy contents throughout evening and take home whatever is left over.
Hollywood always celebrates this event with champagne, so we’ve selected one of our favorite cocktails that features champagne, The French 75 – it’s Retro Glam. Official Recipe Go> or Partybluprints Recipe DIY Video Go>
$ Saving Tip – a cocktail accented with champagne requires significantly less champagne per drink than a stand alone glass of champagne, but looks equally as elegant and more intriguing.
- Decadent Gilded Baked Potato Bar > DIY video
- Individual Chicken Pot Pies
- Deconstructed Baked Alaska Recipe (Original Partybluprints Recipe) > DIY Video
$ Saving Tip – Deck out basic comfort food. Make your guests feel like stars by serving fancy, but easy to eat comfort food. While Hollywood is dining on chicken pot pies topped with black truffle shavings, garden spring vegetable salad and potato pancakes topped with smoked salmon, our solution to dining like the stars for a fraction of the cost is to serve the same main elements in a Gilded Baked Potato Bar and personal Chicken Pot Pies.
Decadent Gilded Baked Potato Bar (Serves 10) – Using baked potatoes swathed in gold foil, each guest can fashion their own potato with fancy hand-selected special toppings. This main course pays homage to the “Little Gold Man” and the decked out stars.
- 1o large baking potatoes
- Olive/vegetable/canola/corn oil (whatever you have in your pantry)
- Coarse grain salt/kosher salt
- Cracked pepper
- Gold aluminum foil (http://www.webstaurant.com)
Governor’s Ball Inspired Toppings
- Truffle Butter
- Smoked Salmon
- Spring Vegetables
Additional Suggestions for Fancy Toppings
- Cubed & cooked pancetta/crumbled bacon/pepperoni
- Crème Fraiche/greek yogurt/sour cream
- Crumbled fresh goat cheese/shredded cheddar cheese/grated parmesan cheese
- Roasted baby veggies
- Ranch dressing
- Green scallions and chives
- Fresh herbs
- Whipped butter
Using a vegetable brush, scrub each potato to remove dirt (don’t use soap, just water). Allow to air dry. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees, pierce each potato several times with fork and coat liberally with oil. Season with salt & pepper and place potatoes directly on oven rack and cook for 45-60 minutes (cooking time depends on size of potato). Wrap in gold foil, arrange on platter and serve with toppings. Serve each individual topping in fancy serving dishes/glasses.
Photo Source: flickr.com/photos/tiff-any/1364795213/
Chicken Pot Pies Recipe
While the stars are dining on Wolfgang Puck’s Chicken Pot Pies topped with shaved truffles, treat your guests to personal chicken pot pies. If you really want to get fancy, monogram each pie with guests’ initial. Recipe Go>
Prepare them ahead of time and then heat through just before serving.
Original Partybluprints Deconstructed Baked Alaska Recipe – (Serves 12-16)
As the Baked Alaska is marched through the Governor’s Ball, treat your guests to individual sized Deconstructed Baked Alaska – more comfort food dressed up. Your guests will feel special and satisfied as they devour your star dazzling dessert.
We took some of the “pomp & circumstance” out of the traditional Baked Alaska and turned it into an easy to prepare and serve comfort food. The basics elements of Baked Alaska: cake, ice cream and meringue are prepared as individual components and assembled into personal Baked Alaska desserts.
- 1 box yellow cake mix (ingredients listed on box, water, oil and eggs)
- ½ gallon ice cream
- Meringue Cookies (see recipe below or purchase)
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven according to directions on box. Prepare cake mix according to directions, except bake in a lined jelly pan (you won’t find baking directions for this on box) and bake for 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside and cool. When thoroughly cooled, use cookie cutters to cut shapes from sheet cake – we used a star to mimic the starred meringue that encases traditional Baked Alaska. If not assembling immediately, store in airtight container until ready to serve.
Bake Meringue Cookies and set aside. You can also purchase meringue cookies.
To dress up your dessert, assemble individual servings in martini glasses. Line bottom/sides of glass with mini star cakes, top with a scoop of ice cream and meringue cookie. Serve immediately.
Meringue Cookies Recipe By Stephanie Jaworski, joyofbaking.com (See http://www.joyofbaking.com/MeringueCookies.html for more information on meringue techniques and properties)
Meringue Cookies Recipe:
- 3 large egg whites (3 ounces or 90 grams)
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) superfine or caster sugar (if you don’t have superfine sugar simply take granulated white sugar and process it for about 30 seconds in a food processor)
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (105 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of your oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can form the cookies with a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) plain tip, or I often just use two spoons to make the cookies.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Note: The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.
- Before placing the cookies on the cookie sheet, place a little of the meringue on the underside of each corner of the parchment paper. This will prevent the paper from sliding. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) tip. Pipe 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) rounds of meringue in rows on the prepared baking sheet. Alternatively, spoon mounds of meringue, using two spoons, onto the prepared sheets. Sprinkle with a few shaved almonds, if desired.
- Bake the meringues for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet from front to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking. The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying overnight.
- Makes about 10 – 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) meringues
- (For our purposes, made meringues 1 – 1.5” d x 1 – 1.5” h, yielded 2 dozen +)
$ Saving Tip – Instead of spending money on disposable plates, utensils, napkins and glasses, mix and match your own plates, glasses and flatware (if you want to go all out, pull out the good stuff). Use cloth napkins instead of paper – this alone will make your guests feel special.
SWAG BAG FAVOR
Treat your guests to the favor that keeps on giving. Any true Hollywood event is not complete without the swag bag – a bag filled with lots of “swag”, assortment of goodies.
Ours is filled with goodies you can enjoy all night long, through the next few days and once you’ve exhausted the contents, use the bag as a shopping tote.
- Shopping Tote (at Pier 1 and pictured above) – $3
- Flip Flops (Target) – $.70 or Cozy Socks (local drugstore) – $.99
- Alba Lip Balm (local drugstore) – $3.49
- Junior Mints 12 oz. movie style box (Target) – $2.69
- Assorted Nuts (Target) – box of 5 for $4.49
- Smartfood popcorn clusters – Gourmet Popcorn Mix (Target) – box of 5 for $3.00
$ Saving Tip – Set a budget and stick to it. Be economical and make “snacks” part of your favor. Instead of buying a multitude of munchies, purchase a few boxes of snack sized bags to divvy up among swag bags.
Viewing party entertainment and activities are free. Print these ballot forms for fun! Oscars’ Official Ballot Form To print> and the Partybluprints’ Red Carpet Voting Sheet To print>
- In advance of the awards show, have guests complete their ballot. Keep a tally to determine who was right on the money with the winners.
- Have fun watching the Red Carpet “Fashion Show”, make sure guests pull out their Red Carpet Voting Sheet from their swag bag and weigh in, guests can continue their voting throughout the awards show. Collect votes during show, compile and post winners for each category.
… and the Oscar® goes to YOU, for hosting a sensation party !
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